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Wildlife Viewing

Grab the binoculars and head out for some exciting wildlife viewing in Alaska. This is the last frontier for large concentrations of North American animals. They draw many visitors every year to this remarkable place.



Mother bear near Mendenhall Glacier.
Photo: David Fremming

Alaska is home to hundreds of species of wildlife and sea life including polar, black and grizzly bears; gray wolves; lynx; moose; Dall sheep; blue, humpback, beluga and killer whales; sea otters, a variety of seals and sea lions and many more.

  • Watch Dall sheep clinging precariously to the mountain sides while hiking or from the window of a small plane or helicopter.
  • At Mendenhall Glacier or on Mt. Roberts in Juneau, you may see one of the black bears which frequent the area. (At one time they were seen daily on the streets downtown until bear-free garbage bins were introduced.)
  • Watch for moose and beluga whales while driving to Anchorage from Whittier.

However, you won't see animals at every turn. You do need to know where to go and the best times for viewing. This is where some organization comes in handy. There are many professional guides and naturalists ready to take you on the most exhilarating wildlife experiences you can imagine. Take a look at these popular options:


Black and cinnamon bear cub twins.
Photo: David Fremming

Bear Viewing, Ketchikan

Take a flight-hike combination to Anan Creek for observation of Alaska's largest concentration of grizzly and black bears. A bear observation area has been created for visitor safety. Traitors' Cove and Fish Creek are two other Ketchikan area locations for bear viewing.

Wilderness Safaris, Skagway and Haines

See whales, porpoise, sea lions, bear, moose, Arctic terns and bald eagles on adventures from Skagway and Haines. Combine a high-speed boat ride from Skagway with a hike through the wilderness for an amazing outdoor adventure.

Whale & Wildlife Cruises - Sitka, Juneau, Icy Strait Point

  • These are the best spots on the Inside Passage for viewing sea life; humpback and orca (killer) whales, Steller sea lions, harbor seals.
  • Sitka is the best place for sea otter cruises which include brown bear and Sitka blacktail deer viewing.
  • Icy Strait Point offers a tour which includes viewing the coastal brown (grizzly) bears of Chichagof Island along with sea life viewing.

Denali National Park and Preserve

The 2.5 million-hectare park is home to glaciated mountains, canyons, lakes and a sub-Arctic region making it the perfect place to see grizzly bears, caribou, wolves, Dall sheep and moose. There are numerous trails to follow, guided hikes and interpretive activities. On clear days you'll be able to see 6194-meter Mount McKinley (Denali), North America's highest mountain, which is situated in the park. Take a flight over this spectacular sight and you may see animals on its slopes!

Alaska SeaLife Center - Seward

For an up-close look at Alaska's sea life, the "window on the sea" is Alaska's only public aquarium and ocean wildlife rescue centre. Observe Alaska's diverse sea life and watch scientists studying and assisting these amazing creatures. Reservations are not required for general admission but are recommended for the Octopus Encounter, Puffin Encounter, Marine Mammal Encounter and Behind the Scenes Tours. Reservations are required for all other Special Programs and Tours.

Birding

  • Birders will be thrilled by what they see while hiking and in towns across Alaska.
  • There are over 450 bird species including many bald eagles which are surprisingly easy to find.
  • Sitka and Juneau are two outstanding places for guided birding hikes.
  • Don't miss the Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka where injured birds of prey receive treatment before being returned to the wild.

By Susan Milne

Ensemble Travel Group

IMPORTANT: When booking, ask us for the appropriate supplier brochure for complete details and terms and conditions for your vacations and as well inquire about any possible past guest savings. Offers are space available and may be withdrawn at anytime without prior notice and are not combinable with other offers (unless stated otherwise). All prices, details and offers are subject to change. We are not responsible for errors or omissions.

Articles by Susan Milne

Ensemble Travel Group - Experience That Takes You Places

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